The New York Jets have two bright, promising players at both safety positions with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. However, the team brought in a veteran in J.J. Wilcox to see if he can crack the club as a rotational player.
Gang Green’s 2017 first and second-round draft picks did not disappoint in their rookie campaigns. Jamal Adams proved to be as good as advertised, while Marcus Maye showed a lot of upside for a second-round selection.
But, no good team can be without depth, therefore general manager Mike Maccagnan swooped up veteran J.J. Wilcox late in free agency. He looked as though he would be inking a deal in the bay with the San Francisco 49ers. Rather, head coach Todd Bowles led Wilcox to decide to come to New York.
Wilcox liked how Bowles is a defensive minded coach who played the same position, and the Jets had a need for a rotational safety due to Rontez Miles‘ injury. He will bring a veteran presence that will help the young players develop.
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2017 SEASON REVIEW
Wilcox signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2016 season. He had spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys up until that point.
The former third-round pick played well with America’s Team. Although, 2017 was a season to forget for Wilcox.
After signing the deal with the Buccaneers, Wilcox was sent to the Pittsburgh Steelers via trade. He played in 12 games with the Steelers in 2017, collecting one interception and 12 total tackles.
It seemed as though Wilcox was never comfortable in his role, which could be seen in this numbers and extremely low Pro Football Focus grade.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
In Wilcox’s case, you really can’t do any worse. It would be hard for him to do less in 2018 than what he did in 2017. Wilcox is not that far over the hump if he is even over the hump at all. He is still only 27-years-old, and he had many steady seasons with the Cowboys.
It may be hard to expect Wilcox to be a starter, nor would that be the expectation with Adams and Maye. The coaching staff would be thrilled if he can become a rotational player or even a hybrid player.
TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION
Wilcox should lock down a roster spot when training camp is done. He has the experience that many possible competing players don’t. The hard-hitting safety could fit right in with this Jets team and defense due to his ability to play physical. He isn’t going to be a guy who makes the big plays in the air, but he could open things up for the defense a lot.
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Wilcox’s presence could allow Adams to play more of that hybrid role, and Bowles could even possibly drag Wilcox or Adams all the way up for run stopping purposes. The possibilities are there for Wilcox if he can stay healthy and show the Jets he still has it.